Do you know your “why” and where to find your “tribe”?

blue yellow jets

Frank Wehrmann
6P Marketing

In 2010, Simon Sinek* joined the RAND Corporation where he advises on matters of military innovation and planning. Before that, he was in advertising – it’s also a type of warfare.
Military + Marketing strategists are interested in Mr. Sinek’s fresh approach and thinking around an old, interesting question:   

Q: Why do some companies (like Apple for instance) do better than others (like Dell for instance), despite the fact that everyone has access to the same talent, consultants, media, etc.?

A: Mr. Sinek argues that all inspired leaders (and brands) merchandise their “why” (or why they do what they do), and leave “what they do” until later.

Think politics for a minute.
Party leaders leverage their vision to attract and surround themselves with leadership and management teams that share the leader’s vision, and mobilize it. They recruit volunteers based on the leader’s vision, and the entire team fans out to knock on doors and [1] find those who share the leader’s political point of view, and [2] ask the residents for their support.

Now think about the last time your friend recommended a movie.
Did he or she tell you to go see it because it’s playing at the Empire on Grant at 7:10, it’s 1:40 in length, has already earned over $29.3 million dollars, and will only be playing for three more days?

Or did he or she tell you to go see it because “it’s absolutely amazing! I almost _____ my pants!”?

Most arts and sports events are referred with an emotional (vs. logical) appeal to an established like-minded audience.

Now consider your own brand’s selling proposition:

  • Are you really selling fresh food or is it a cultural / social experience?
  • A higher education or a passport to see the world?
  • Financial investment options or Freedom 55™?
  • Child care or peace of mind?
  • Governance or transparency?
  • A building (structure) or a new way of thinking?
  • HR services or a strategic advantage?
  • Strategic services or personal liberation?

Here are some questions for your management and marketing teams to explore:

1.   Can you turn your “why” into an emotional selling proposition that will resonate with the audience you wish to serve?

2.   Could you sell more by focusing on the “why”? In general, a “What > How > Why” structured argument enables us to absorb more facts about the product or service, but is less compelling because it doesn’t engage the emotional decision making brain.

3.   Could you hire more people who believe what you believe (to increase productivity)?

4.   Could you do better and more work with businesses that believe what you believe?

5.   Can you sell more products and services if you target those who believe what you believe?

6.   Can you make your product or service story more engaging knowing that:

  • We learn one thing at a time (It’s why single-minded ads work best).
  • We learn by brain synapse association. So the more modalities we engage the better:

    red-check10% of what we read we recall
    red-check20% of what we hear we recall
    red-check30% of what we see we recall
    red-check50% of what we both see and hear we recall
    red-check70% of what we discuss with others we recall
    red-check80% of what we experience personally we recall
    red-check90% of what we TEACH others we recall


Need help sorting out your “why” as well as your selling proposition?

call us at 1-204-272-3275 - operators are standing by!

*ABOUT Simon Sinek is best known for popularizing the concept of The Golden Circle. He joined the RAND Corporation in 2010 as an adjunct staff member, where he advises on matters of military innovation and planning. His first TED Talk on "How Great Leaders Inspire Action" is the 7th most viewed video on His 2009 book on the same subject, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action (2009) delves into the biology of human decision-making and why we are inspired by some leaders’ messages and organizations more than others. He has worked with Euro/RSCG and Ogilvy & Mather and, in 2002, started his own company, Sinek Partners.


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